The Encyclopedia Geographica is the seminal work of Civilization. The Geographic Green books include maps of every place in the known world and articles about the things in those places. One can honestly say, you are holding the known world in your hand when holding this book.
Encyclopedia Geographica VOL I - III, ED I 1572
Encyclopedia Geographica VOL I - IV, ED II 1580
Encyclopedia Geographica ED III 1590 (It is one massive book! A full 10 Kgs, 23 lbs)
Encyclopedia Geographica VOL I-VI, ED IV 1600
A Brief Encyclopedia Geographica ED IVa 1605
Encyclopedia Geographica VOL I-VI, ED V 1610
A Brief Encyclopedia Geographica ED Va 1615 - Accepted as a primary text at the Great College of Collon!
Geographica Historical VOL I-X ED 1618, a complete history of the world known to date. It takes all the historical data collected by the Society and collates it in one place. This series has been banned in one country because it honestly reflects some politically embarrassing history. To be fair, many criticized it in the Order's home country because of certain notations in its history.
The Encyclopedia Geographica is the seminal work of Civilization. The Books are bound in Geographic Green textured leather, with brass accents along the spine. They also have a green ribbon attached to mark one's place.
This book has a map of every civilized and most uncivilized places in the known world with articles that explain the peoples, societies, governments, flora, and fauna, found on those maps. It also includes a world map, showing which areas are mapped. While the current edition is very 'terse' in its write ups, it is very complete. One can honestly say, you are holding the known world in your hand when holding this book. In fact, governments across the known world 'subscribe' to the Encyclopedia, so they can have several copies for government use.
(It is the CIA Factbook of its day http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ )
The Encyclopedia Geographica is the product of the Royal Geographic Order. The Order sponsors fact finding expeditions across the world, exploring new territory and doing research in old ones. The order brings together all this knowledge. Every decade or so they summarize it and publish an Encyclopedia. The Order publishes more books and is one of the largest publishers of books in the Known World.
Editions in various foreign tongues come out one to three years after the primary versions do. They are fairly translated, but some countries do their own translations (sending copies back to the Order).
note: One is currently being produced as a gift for the Warlord of the Marches Nomads, so The Great One can learn all about the rest of the world beyond The Marches.
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Im guessing that they have a printing press to do this, writing it out by hand for 50+ copies would try even a city of scribes.
This comment needs to turn into a article. :)
Or put into the WWMWBI thread about printing presses.
Sounds like PC bait.
Big score for certain traveling sects. Priceless to many others. Rumors that it holds locations of gold/silve/etc mines, hidden caverns, ruined kingdoms...
A little too much perhaps, to hold everything, but coupled with the society the claims might be pretty close to the truth.
And just to think of all the misconceptions/errors/lies that can filter into such book...
Actually, a group of PC's could be given this at their start, the players having the same as a Worldpack.
Gutenberg would be proud!
I guess I prefer my fantasy a little darker - this optimistic production, somewhat utopic in nature, would not fit in my games. That said, in a more cheerful campaign, PCs could easily be part of the Royal Surveyors Guild, on missions to collect the information for this publication. Such an easy source of hooks to send them on any number of crazy missions for no other reasons than to see what is there.
This would fit in where your campaign had posted want ad's or adventurer's guilds.
It is less applicable to your standard faux european psuedo medieval fantasy world. In a world where you are playing an analog of Elizabethan England or an emerging modern culture/ mid to late European Renaissance analog, such an organization would casually fit in. There such organizations start, as similar organizations did, for two reasons. First, Intelligence gathering about other countries, current or future colonies, and ways to get there. Second, National Pride. 'We do this because we are great.' The two ideas dovetail nicely. Throw in a dash of 'desire to explore and command the natural world' and it occurs without a problem. (This was the basic reasoning for the Royal Geographic society in our world.)
I'd like to have this. :) 5/5